Mayor Trollip calls for greater protection of children at Sonia Payi funeral

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, on Friday joined hundreds of mourners, who gathered at the Lilian Ngoyi Sports Centre in KwaZakhele for the funeral of seven-year-old Sonia Payi, whose kidnapping and subsequent murder shocked Port Elizabeth.

Payi was reported missing on the 3rd of September. According to Port Elizabeth police, she was walking with her friend to a spaza shop in New Brighton when she was snatched by an unknown man.

“It it alleged that  the two girls were close to the shop a man approached them and asked the deceased to accompany him. The suspect gave money to the other child and told her to go and buy sweets and walked away with the deceased girl,” said police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge, told RNEWS.

He added that the other girl went back to the deceased's home and reported the what happened to the deceased's grandmother and a case of kidnapping was opened.

Around midday on Monday, 5 September, Port Elizabeth police found her body lying in an open field near Struandale, Port Elizabeth.

Addressing mourners, Mayor Trollip said; "We will not wait even a week or a month before the perpetrators are caught. That time is too much to wait. As the leadership of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality we feel a deep pain.

"We do understand that the pain you feel can not be explained. Today, we must ask ourselves where were we when this child was abducted and killed. I also ask myself where the same question. This child should have been protected by us as a community. To Sonia's friends, never forget Sonia.

"She is now in a better place with beautiful girls like her. She will never forget you."

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality assisted the family with funeral arrangements. 

The ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay has since called for greater police visibility following the tragic event.

"The life of the little girl was cut short in the most barbaric way and that her rights had been violated.

"Children are supposed to be nurtured and taken care of. Children are the ones who are supposed to bury us. Children are meant to live a happy life," said Gift Ngqondi, Regional Spokesperson, ANC Nelson Mandela Bay.